I had taken a few days "off" from blogging because I wanted to spend some time doing things around the house here and enjoying the season. Keith and I work hard all year long and I was feeling like I was working right through the holidays, and getting a bit frazzled. It didn't take long for me to catch up on some of the things that I wanted to do around the house though, and I really accomplished a great deal. I reorganized some things here – which I feel is really important when working out of a small space – and I must admit it felt good to take the pressure off that I usually put on myself this time of year. While we still took care of customers and orders, I tried to step away from deadlines and things like that for just a bit to give myself a break. I think it did wonders.
We spent one day at Keith's mom's, helping her set up her tree. She has a very large tree and tons of beautiful ornaments – many which hold memories that are close to her heart. Keith helped assemble the tree and we both put on the lights. I placed the top ornaments to help and after that we went on to do some other holiday tasks, as Keith's mom would finish the ornaments later on. I can't wait to go over again and see the tree finished!
Here at home I finally got my own little tree decorated. As I went through my many 'themes' of Christmas ornaments, I was having trouble deciding which ones to use this year. Since my tree is not large, I usually limit things to one or two sets of ornaments that are my current favorites. This year however, I had so many lovely ornaments that were given to me by family and through the several exchanges that I participate in each year that I decided to have a rather eclectic tree of all different kinds of ornaments. Some are painted. Some are wood. I even have a couple of beautiful Swarovski Crystal ornaments that my son had given me over the years. I really love the look.
I also spent some time working on some new crafts that I am learning, as well as my embroidery piece "A Perfect World". I had finished panel 15 last week and I am half way through with panel 16. There are 17 panels in all and then some finishing details and I am done. I am getting excited about that and I promise to show the photos of panel 15 later on this week.
I created some additional needle felted animals as well. I am finding that I really love the process of sculpting with wool and I can see more and more how I can use and apply these creations to both my painting and my woodworking designs. Initially, I had began this type of creating so that I could make some original sculptures that I could use for models for both my painting and woodworking designs. Since there are so many issues with copyrights these days, I thought it was safer (and easier in the long run) to just make my own models and work from them. I realize that to some of you that may be the long way around things, but since I love to create and learn new things anyway, I think it is a fun way to insure that what I offer is truly my own original work. To me it just makes sense.
But I need to learn to walk before I run, and before I could start creating my own animals, I needed to familiarize myself with the materials and the process of building animals. I found a wonderful site and teacher in Sarafina Fiber Art and I have become an eager student. I began with Sara's chicks, and also created some mice and baby harp seals. I loved the chicks and immediately added some 'extras' to make them unique. This is "Nugget" and "Peep":
I did the same with the baby harp seal whom I call "Aurora":
You can see both the painting and woodworking additions and how they really enhance the pieces. (Side note – I liked Aurora so much, I made several and have her up for sale at my ETSY store SheilaLandryDesigns. I will be selling some of these pieces there as very limited editions that will be signed and numbered.
I am not as pleased with the mice, so I think I need to have another go at them before I continue with them. That is part of the learning process though, and my thoughts on that is to play around and build my skill up again before trying again.
Over the weekend though, I did try my first original needle felted design. This time it was a baby emperor penguin that I named "Garry":
He is fully posable and has a wire armature inside, so I can have fun with him and pose him many different ways. I used clay for his little toes:
And he is about 7" tall and fits in my hand:
I am rather happy with him and it encouraged me quite a bit after the mice came out so awkward.
I wanted to learn a bit more though, so I advanced to a more difficult project. I created a fox which I am calling "Sasha" by following along with Sara's instructional videos. The main design is Sara's, although I did change the colors and the way I did my fox's tail. The piece took me probably about eight hours to complete, but I really like her a lot:
Again, she is fully wired with an armature, so I can pose her any way I want.
Her face was quite a challenge, but I learned a great deal making her.
Here is a photo for size:
It was very encouraging finishing her up, and I plan to do more animals soon. I really want to do some cats as you can imagine.
While I enjoyed this little deviation from "work", I couldn't help but think about designing. There have been some ideas that I have had in my head for some time now that I wanted to develop for "after Christmas" patterns and I thought I would get a start on that. So I started doing some drawing and stuff yesterday and getting the ball rolling in that direction.
Tomorrow, I am going to be spending the day with some of my "Canadian family" members. We are going to have a wonderful and relaxing day and go up the valley to shop. I say it will be 'relaxing' because I really have nothing to get that I HAVE to get and I am going along more for the socialization and to enjoy the season. I will take my camera and if there is anything interesting, I will record it. So I will probably be back here in a day or so. I am still in "semi-vacation mode" and will be posting only here and there for the next couple of weeks. I doubt I will be idle though and when I do post I will have lots to catch up with you all. So the entries may be a bit long – like this one!
Finally – I want to announce a wonderful event that I have been invited to participate in. I have been chosen as one of the teachers for the Art Play Date 2015! Art Play Date is an online "course" in which offers 24 classes in 24 weeks by 24 different teachers. Each class offers a full project which includes written instructions and up to two hours of video for the student to follow along. It is a fabulous opportunity for both newer painters as well as seasoned painters to experience many different styles and types of painting. The cost for the course is (I believe) $99 which gains you acces to all 24 projects! The first Art Play Date was launched last year and it was very successful. People really gave rave reviews about it and I had enrolled and loved it as well. It was very fun and interesting to see so many different types of techniques and there were classes in acrylic painting, watercolor, mixed media, etc. I learned a great deal from the wonderful teachers – many whom which I have admired and followed for years. Being asked to participate as a teacher is a great honor for me.
The sign ups begin on February 1st. I will certainly have more information about that here in my blog, as well as on my Facebook page and on the site. If you are interested, I ask that you sign up through my site and my link, as we get paid according to how many sign up through our own links. I look forward to offering a fun and interesting project (I am working on that, too!) and hope that many of you who are thinking of painting for the first time will give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed. You will definitely hear more about it from me as the dates get closer. :)
Well – that is about all for today. See what happens when I miss blogging?? So much to catch up on with you all. I hope you are all doing well in getting your holiday crafts and gifts finished up. Remember to take some time for yourself and to enjoy the season. That is what you are working so hard for anyway, isn't it?
Happy Monday to you all! I hope you have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"